It's doesn't happen very often that a player on a team that finished fourth in league earns the league's top honor.
Although the Burbank High girls' water polo team didn't place among the top three in the Pacific League this past season, a Bulldogs player was voted the most valuable player.
Senior utility Jordan Card was named the Pacific League Player of the Year.
"I was surprised when I was told that I won it," said Card, a four-year standout. "I know there are other good players on other teams, but I think I've worked really hard for it and I'm just glad that the other coaches hopefully saw that in me."
Card broke the Burbank single-season goal record with 132. In addition, she also had 68 steals, 22 assists and 15 blocks.
Under Coach Carlos Pelayo, Burbank went 19-8 and put a scare into league-champion Crescenta Valley, falling to the Falcons, 10-9, in the league tournament semifinals.
Pelayo, who earned Pacific League Coach of the Year honors, said Card was instrumental in helping the Bulldogs put together a winning season.
"She has never been one to worry about her stats," Pelayo said. "For her, it's always been about the team. She will do whatever is needed to help the team. If we need her to guard the other team's best player, she would do it, or if we needed her to score, she would do it. Heck, if we needed her to play goalie she would do it. The team has always been more important for her."
True to form, Card was quick to give her teammates credit.
"I've just been so blessed with what I've been given and the teammates that I've had," she said. "I've just been fortunate that I've been able to excel as a player."
One of those teammates was senior goalkeeper Sarah Tubert, who earned all-league first-team accolades. Tubert had 258 blocks to set a new Bulldogs single-season mark.
Crescenta Valley (27-4), which won its second straight league crown after going 8-0 and winning the league tournament, got three first-team selections in last year's co-MVP Kim Fraisse, Adrienne Ingalla and Christine Cho.
Fraisse, who set the Falcons' single-season scoring record with 129 goals in 2009-10, was once again a dominant force, although early season injuries and the overall depth of the team caused the senior utility's numbers to dip.
She finished with 71 goals, 25 assists and 45 steals.
"Her goals are down because I think we're a lot better team [than last season]," said Crescenta Valley Coach Pete Loporchio, who had eight players score 20 or more goals this season. "There were many games where we rested her a bit.
"We had so many other players that scored more goals this year, it was a little bit more across the board. ...It's a tribute, really, to all of them kind of working together."
Fraisse said she didn't mind giving up shots and minutes to teammates to help the squad get through challenging games against contenders such as Glendale, Pasadena and Burbank.
"We just had so many offensive players who could shoot that could do everything, so everyone definitely got a lot in for themselves, too," Fraisse said. "This season [league] was great for us because everyone that we played was a challenge. It was fun to have it more competitive this year."
Ingalla, a senior hole/guard, scored 38 goals to go with 11 assists, but was most valuable for her two-meter defense.
"Adrienne really is our primary defender in terms of two meters and guarding their center forward," Loporchio said of Ingalla, who led the team with 71 steals. "She's one of the most cerebral players I think I've ever coached in terms of asking questions and just knowing the game and really trying to apply it."
Cho, a senior driver, scored 39 goals, assisted on 12 and notched 27 steals.
"Christine is our sprinter and our primary perimeter shooter," Loporchio said. "She and Sabrina Hatzer were our primary zone breakers because they were our two outside arms."
Glendale senior hole/set Kristina Terzyan was the lone first-team representative for the Nitros (17-10), who finished third in league with a 6-2 mark.
The Falcons also landed sophomore utility Breanna Lawton (29 goals, 11 assists and 51 steals) on the second team and junior driver Stefanie Loporchio (35 goals, 12 assists and 36 steals) received honorable mention.
Glendale's additional selections were junior utility Desiree Solano-Garcia, a second-team pick, and senior utility Milene Minassians, who earned honorable mention.
Burroughs (8-8) had a first-team player in junior hole/set Samantha Buliavac and junior utility Erika Green was an honorable-mention pick.
Hoover's Pamela Minassians made the second team, while Erin Babakhanian was an honorable mention for the Tornadoes (0-10, 0-7).
Burbank senior driver Danielle Reid was an honorable mention selection.